Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Clue: The Movie

I love a good gimmick. Actually, I love a bad gimmick. Remember when Tony Atlas called himself Saba Simba? Me neither, but I bet I would have loved it.

If I am at a restaurant and they serve a drink in a miniature fishbowl, or have a special desert that changed colors as you ate it, I will be the guy buying it.

So, it shouldn't surprise you that I bought Clue: The Movie on DVD.

Based on the board game (which is kind of a gimmicky thing to base a movie on anyway) this movie follows the plot of the game.

Early on, Mr. Body is killed and a bunch of people (Mr. Green, Prof. Plum, etc) are stuck in a mansion trying to decide who did it. The film added a few other characters including:

Wadsworth the Butler: Played by Tim Curry, he carries the film. In the very end he steals it completely.

Yvette the Maid: She had a heaving bosom. That's all I remember about her. It was really, really heaving.

The Cook: I didn't even notice her until she was killed. Her bosom was heaving too, but in a bad way.

The Singing Telegram Girl: Jane Wiedlin (the cute girl from the Go Go's) pops up all too briefly.

Anyway, the film roars to a climax with Tim Curry re-enacting the entire movie at a breakneck pace. All in all it's a pretty good comedy and a fun (if impossible to predict) whodunit.

The reason it is impossible to predict is because of the gimmick: THREE DIFFERENT ENDINGS.

When the film played in movie houses in 1985 there were 3 possible endings that you could see depending on what theater you went to. The theaters would advertise that they showed ending a, b or c. The idea was pretty clever and maybe it worked.

The film grossed 14 million dollars at the box office. That seems pretty bad for a movie today but in 1985 14 million was, like, 100 billion dollars (I think.)

The film is the 2,424 most successful film of all time. Whooo hooo! However, it made less money than The Care Bears Movie and Tim Curry can't be too proud of that. I bet he stays up at night cursing the name of Tenderheart Bear.

The DVD works with the option of watching an ending chosen at random or the home video ending which spliced all three endings together separated by title cards that read things like "this is the way it could have happened" and "but, this is the way it REALLY happened."

The DVD did neglect to include the other part of the gimmick: the theater patrons were given a score card (just like in the home game) that they could use to rule out suspects with. Of course after the lights went down no one could SEE it so they probably just stuck it into their pockets (or heaving bosoms.)

14 comments:

  1. Brian-o1/03/2006

    Yeah, but i didn't find it nearly as funny as you describve it. I liked the triple ending idea though.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Paul Verhoeven has created a masterwork from Joe Eszterhas' controversial script. Clue, The Movie, features just about every great comedy actor of the day. From Leslie Ann Warren to Michael McKean to Eileen Brennan to Howard Hessman to the priceless Tim Curry, they're all here! -- If you are familiar with the board game, just picture a film version of the search for "whodunit". The mystery is dark; the action, including a car chase, thrills; and the locale continually shifts. This laugh-a-minute fun fest is loaded with outrageous, silly slapstick, superbly acted out by the great cast. Eszterhas' script is carefully crafted, and it does not cheat. Life proves ambiguous at many levels, and so does art.

    One night, after filming wrapped, a fire destroyed several sets, many of the actors' trailers (among them Tim Curry’s), and all of the costumes. Production was halted for two weeks while they were remaking all of the costumes. A Universal security guard later admitted to setting the fire.

    A squeaky-clean young couple gets a flat tire on a late rainy night, and decides to stop off at a nearby castle to use the residents' phone and call for help. What they don't realize is that these are no ordinary residents. This ain't no game! The popular game comes to life in this mystery-comedy movie with an all-star cast headed by Eileen Brennan. Once they arrive, they meet Wadsworth the butler, soon their host, Mr. Boddy, arrives and they all get to know one another. Professor Plum works for the UN, Mr. Green is a government agent, Mrs. Peacock is a senator's wife, Mrs. White had two husbands who disappeared under "mysterious" circumstances, Colonel Mustard is a colonel, etc., Mr. Boddy gives everyone weapons like candlestick, rope, lead pipe, wrench, revolver, and knife. Mr. Boddy switches off the lights and when they come back on, someone has killed Mr. Boddy! They then go search the house to see if it was a mysterious seventh person who done it. As they do so, other people show up at the house and soon end up dead. Wadsworth the butler has a good idea who did it, so he recreates all the events of the evening to find out who. The results in three different endings.

    There are several echoes of Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo (58). Both pictures have as a setting the picturesque San Francisco area. Jerry Goldsmith's music recalls Bernard Herrmann's symphonic score. The stairwell in the building resembles the vertiginous staircase of the Mission bell tower. And as with Hitchcock the dialogue is often simultaneously risqué and humorous, although more vulgar in keeping with the tenor of modern times.

    Call me a twisted fan, but I actually prefer to watch this cult classic movie in the comfort of my own home, rather than going out to one of those midnight theatrical screenings. Oh, I'm sure there's great fun to be had at a midnight showing, but the fact is, you're not going to see or hear very much of the movie itself, what with the audience shouting & throwing stuff at the screen literally every two seconds, think of "Mystery Science Theater 3000" on speed! If you want to really *see and hear* this cinematic masterpiece as you would any other film, watch it on video first. Then, when you've got the movie firmly etched in your head, head out to the theater. But NOT before!

    You'll be amazed at how many of the lines and gags get stuck in your head. I'll never be able to forget the flustered looks of Mrs. Peacock, the wit and charm of Wadsworth or the subtle facial expressions of Mrs. White. The picture in this WIDE SCREEN VERSION is the best yet of this film since its initial release.

    The soundtrack is kept in its original mono; still I'd greatly enjoy hearing a stereo or, even better, a surround sound version in the future. Now you have the option of really not knowing who did it until the final scenes play bringing surprise into the untold repeat viewings that are sure to occur.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love this film and I own it. It's currently in most Wal-mart bargain bins for $5.50.

    ReplyDelete
  4. The better question is is there anyone out there that hasn't seen this?

    I'M Da' Bomb, I think you're getting this movie mixed up with another Tim Curry movie, Congo.

    In short, Communism was just a red herring.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'M Da' Bomb1/04/2006

    Reds? You don't mean communists, Sam, do you?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Sweetie I think that you might be mistaken. Although Jane Weidlin was in the Go-Go's, I was the cute girl in the band.

    You might be thinking of the Surreal Life. She was definately the cute one on that show.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Cravipat – you are correct. I apparently mixed up these two films. Congo was a great film. There are few children's movies that I particularly enjoyed – Congo, however takes a new place among children's films – in fact, it may seem that initially, that it is about simplistic story about kids playing a board game. Based on a gorgeous picture book story of the same name by Chris Van Allsberg, this movie takes a beautiful magical adventure and makes it into a thrill ride that defies all natural laws. Lots of films with kids in lead roles feature inept dialog, bad acting, poor shooting and/or little or no plot, or are thinly disguised morality tales. Congo is one of those rare and delightful exceptions.

    The film starts out showing the belligerent behavior of a 10 year old boy towards his younger brother, and the 6 year old's response, during a front yard game of catch with their father. After Dad goes out for an errand, the 6 year old finds a "space" game in the basement and his older brother resentfully agrees to play it with him. It turns out that the game changes reality - as they learn when a meteor shower hits the living room, followed by the discovery that their house is now orbiting what appears to be a fiery planet.

    Congo is a quite original movie which the main attraction is outstanding special effects. They're extracted from a fair screenplay that becomes a little diabolical when it shows us the rules of the game and when the fierce creatures appear suddenly. It's a pity that the director, Joe Johnston doesn't emphasize enough on the dramatical side of the story and on the dangerous side of the game. Moreover, he obviously meant to tell this story in a comedy tone. It's a good idea but not very well exploited. You especially laugh when the sheriff appears and when he makes blunders. He's only a decorative character who plays a minor role in the plot. It doesn't stop the movie to contain irresistible moments. At the end, this movie is a good entertainment that remains confined to a plain familial comedy.

    The boys overcome increasingly terrifying challenges as the movie progresses, learning to trust and love each other (and themselves) more and more, as they work to protect each other as each new catastrophe occurs.

    Basically Congo is an unbalanced adventure from the pen of Michael Crichton which suffers from studio sets that don't quite make the grade and quirky casting, from Tim Curry's camp Rumanian treasure hunter, to Ernie Hudson's great 'black' hunter, complete with a distinguished English accent that could have been worse, after all there was always Keanu Reeves in 'Dracula'.

    The film also suffers from two bland leads, a talking ape and some shocking over acting from minor performers. Even Frank Marshall's direction seems a little hurried, making the film appear more like a Sunday matinee B-movie from the fifties than it actually is. Without being "preachy", the film provides strong lessons on the value and importance of family, and of working together to solve problems. This is a "must-see" film, right up there with the best children's films I've ever seen. Even so, due to the intensity, I would not recommend it for very young children (5-6 years of age or under), and even older pre-teens should probably see the film with an adult.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Belinda - It is you who is mistaken. You were the "she has a cute face" or "she's got a great personality" girl on the Go-Gos. You were also the "lots of junk in the trunk" girl in the group and let's face it you are no J-Lo.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Belinda - It is you who is mistaken. You were the "she has a cute face" or "she's got a great personality" girl on the Go-Gos. You were also the "lots of junk in the trunk" girl in the group and let's face it you are no J-Lo.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Jane - Lets not be catty. We all know you were the "slept with all the groupies and roadies" girl in the band. Go back to hanging out with the rest ofthe has been on that VH-1 show...

    ReplyDelete